Whose Vietnam?: Discursive Competition over the Vietnam Analogy

Adam Hodges

in The “War on Terror” Narrative

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780199759590
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199895335 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Sociolinguistics

Whose Vietnam?: Discursive Competition over the Vietnam Analogy

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This chapter explores an important aspect of the narrative—namely, its ability to subsume disparate foreign policy objectives under the rubric of the ‘war on terror.’ For the Bush administration, Iraq has become the ‘central front in the war on terror,’ even though critics of the administration resist this categorization of sociopolitical reality and work to define Iraq and the ‘war on terror’ (or more specifically, the conflict in Afghanistan) as unrelated ventures. Moreover, in voicing opposition to the Iraq war, many opponents have made analogies between Iraq and Vietnam. This chapter takes data from media discourse, focus group interviews, and presidential speeches to examine the way Bush has attempted to appropriate the Vietnam analogy from his critics and reshape it for use within the narrative. The analysis demonstrates that even dominate macro-level narratives are dialogically revised amidst pressures from oppositional voices.

Keywords: analogy; dialogic revision; Iraq; Vietnam; war on terror

Chapter.  8203 words. 

Subjects: Sociolinguistics

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